Cooking grains successfully every time..

 I regularly eat bowls of grains topped and mixed with various vegetables, seeds, cheeses and/or dips and sauces. Grains replace rice or pasta for me. These provide my lunches and dinners and even sometimes, my breakfast 🙂 

My favourite grain is quinoa, I like the flavour and it provides a source of protein in my vegetarian diet, but I also like to try different grains for their flavour and nutrients. 

In these dishes, I want my grains to be perfectly cooked, which is what this post is dedicated to…read on…

 I’ve talked about this before in my post about not cooking quinoa as it says on the pack – and I really really mean it: my experience has been that if you go by the packet instructions and cook quinoa in all that water for all that time it has only ever produced mushy, often bitter tasting, quinoa for me. 

I want perfectly cooked quinoa grains that are not stuck together and that have that slightly nutty flavour that they’re meant to and this method works for me every time…


1 full cup of dried quinoa

1 full cup of cool water

NOTE: my ‘cup’ is a small mug, it doesn’t have to be a measuring cup; basically, it’s equal volumes of grains and water. Whatever you use to measure out the grains, use the same for the water. My mug full of grains makes enough cooked quinoa to last several meals. 


Put the quinoa and water into a pan and heat on your hob/stove.

Bring the water to the boil and turn the heat down to simmer so that you keep the water bubbling.

Boil/simmer for 6 minutes ONLY.

(Don’t worry if it looks like it’s boiling dry, just give it a stir, it will be fine) 

After 6 minutes, turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan. The steam inside the pan will do the rest of the cooking.

Leave it to sit for 15-20 minutes then remove the lid and fork the quinoa to separate the grains.

Eat warm or place in a  bowl to allow to cool for cold recipes.

Keep it covered in the fridge for up to a week. 

And that’s it! 

It works every time for me with standard white quinoa. It has also worked with red quinoa, but I haven’t tried black quinoa, I think it tends to need further cooking. 

I’ve now gone on to experiment with other grains. With standard cooking instructions I found that buckwheat groats (above) are easy to overcook and turn to a sticky mush. With my method, it came out so much better; again, nice separate grains and a great favour.

Again: 1 cup of buckwheat groats + 1 cup of water and method as above.

And then to freekeh. 

Freekeh is a very young green wheat which has been eaten for centuries in the Middle East but is now finding fame in western countries. It’s a really tasty grain, but unlike the quinoa and buckwheat above, this is not a gluten free grain. For me, I find it is still gentle on my stomach though.

For freekeh, the ‘method’ still works it just benefits from a little bit more water:

1 full cup of uncooked freekeh

1 & 1/4 cup of cool water

Follow the method as above but leave the lid on for more like half an hour after simmering. 

Then fork up your freekeh and eat it in any way you fancy 🙂 


I have numerous examples of my bowls of grains on my Instagram feed if you’d like some ideas, as well as many and various ideas here on the blog. 

I will be continuing my experiments with rice and other grains very soon…x

49 thoughts on “Cooking grains successfully every time..

  1. Anita Kushwaha

    Quinoa is an important grain in my diet too. I have found the same problem you mentioned with adding too much water. I will give this a try next time! I haven’t tried buckwheat groats or freekeh yet but I’m intrigued. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Gerard Villanueva

    Count me as another who didn’t know that spelt was a type of farro. I’ve only cooked it a few times but will have to use your method next time Elaine. My last sourdough bread which came out nice used a lot of spelt flour. I also made a couple of batches of 100% spelt tortillas this past weekend which I liked better than the 100% whole wheat flour variety. The flavor is very pleasant and not bitter. I didn’t have time to put it up on a post, but hopefully I can soon.

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